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Evaluation of microwave energy as a humane stunning technique based on electroencephalography (EEG) of anaesthetised cattle

By J. L. Rault, P. H. Hemsworth, P. L. Cakebread, D. J. Mellor, C. B. Johnson

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Abstract

Humane slaughter implies that an animal experiences minimal pain and distress before it is killed. Stunning is commonly used to induce insensibility but can lead to variable results or be considered unsatisfactory by some religious groups. Microwave energy can induce insensibility in rats, and high power equipment has recently been developed for sheep and cattle. We examined the effectiveness of different settings for microwave energy delivery, power and duration, to induce insensibility based on electroencephalography (EEG) of anaesthetised cows, using the minimal anaesthesia model. All applications resulted in the appearance of seizure-like complexes in the EEG, a pattern considered incompatible with awareness. Shorter duration of application resulted in more rapid EEG changes, as quickly as 3 s. Higher power resulted in a longer duration of EEG suppression, at least 37 s and up to 162 s. Microwave energy can induce insensibility in cattle based on seizure-like complexes in the EEG.

Publication Title Animal Welfare
Volume 23
Issue 4
Pages 391-400
ISBN/ISSN 0962-7286
Publisher Universities Federation for Animal Welfare
DOI 10.7120/09627286.23.4.391
Language English
Author Address Animal Welfare Science Centre, School of Land and Environment, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia.raultj@unimelb.edu.au
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Tags
  1. Anesthesia
  2. Animal models
  3. Animals
  4. Animal slaughter
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Bovidae
  7. Brain
  8. Cattle
  9. Efficacy
  10. Electroencephalograms
  11. Euthanasia
  12. Evaluation
  13. Mammals
  14. models
  15. Pain
  16. Parasites
  17. peer-reviewed
  18. Rats
  19. Rodents
  20. Ruminants
  21. Sheep
  22. stunning
  23. ungulates
  24. vertebrates
  25. Veterinary pharmacology
  26. Wool producing animals
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed